Three journalists beaten, locked up by NSCDC

Mr. Salihu Shola Taofeek, Chairman of the Association of Kwara Online Media Practitioner and Publisher of Informant247 online Newspaper, was heavily battered and locked up in a cell yesterday afternoon for hours.

It was confirmed that the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is responsible for this action.

Treated in like manner were Salihu Ayatullah (Editor, Informant247) and Eyitanwa Lawal, a lawyer turned journalist with the SOBI 101.9FM Ilorin. The three were reportedly beaten and locked up together.

L-2-R: Salihu Taofeek, Salihu Ayatullah and Eyitanwa Lawal

Salihu Taofeek related the incident yesterday:

“Earlier today, at about 1:00 pm, I received a call from a cousin who was arrested and detained by the Kwara state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. I and Salihu Ayatullahi went there in the company of a lawyer.

“On getting there, we were told it was a family issue and directed to the Peace and Conflict Resolution unit of the Command. At the unit, we were told that the detainee fought with the wife of one of their officers simply identified as Kannike, thus warranting his detention. We were redirected back to the Station Office.

“On getting back to the Station Office, the officer told us that the matter is a family one and we should leave and allow their other ‘customers’ to have space. We were about to leave when Eyintanwa Lawal a journalist colleague with Sobi FM and a lawyer came in. She inquired about what happened from the detainee without him respond, the officer at the counter started orally harassing by using abusive words on her, on the guise that she wasn’t given permission to speak with a suspect detainee under their care, all entreaties to make her desist proved abortive.

“Thus, I jocularly told her and 3 of her colleagues who had already joined in verbally harassing Barr. Eyitanwa, that they called us their customer and they are not giving us friendly customer service.

“That harmless reaction to their earlier comment about us being their customer obviously infuriated officers, thus they called their colleagues numbering about 30, who all dashed towards the ‘station office’.

“The 3 of us were mercilessly beaten, we were thoroughly harassed, tearing our cloths in the process. They ceased our phones, profiled us as suspects and we were thrown into detention for more than 4 hours.

Mr. Taofeek added, “After realizing the obvious overzealousness of their actions and the likely backlash, which was because they got to realize our profession, they brought us out, forced us to open our phones, thereby infringing on our privacy, accessed and deleted confidential pictures and videos after which they insisted and forced me to write an apology-like undertaking not to press charges, content of which was dictated to me by the officer at the counter.

“We resisted for more than 3 hours, until we threatened and grudgingly caved in at around 8:30pm, we wrote as they dictated and we were released without bail at around 8:45pm”

Efforts made to reach NSCDC spokesperson were unsuccessful, but time will tell what the response will be.